Friday, April 13, 2018 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Automotive service technicians and mechanics. | BLS
Starting in the fall, area residents will have an additional pathway to start careers as automotive technicians.
In an April 4 statement, Triton College announced that it has partnered with American Honda Motor Co. to create a new 2-year degree program that will allow students to be trained at Honda or Acura dealerships.
As part of the training, those dealerships will sponsor individual students, Triton officials said.
Students “will report to work at their sponsor dealership, where they’ll train under the guidance of seasoned professionals from within the dealership’s service departments,” the statement reads.
The rest of the students’ training will take place in classrooms and labs within Triton’s Automotive Technology Department.
Chuck Bohleke, the dean of Triton’s Business and Technology department, said that the new program comes as many automotive technicians are retiring.
A March article published in Car and Driver noted that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “an average of 76,000 mechanics are needed each year between 2016 and 2026, both to replace those retiring or leaving the industry and to fill some 46,000 projected new openings.”
“Today, Americans are driving a larger vehicle fleet more miles than ever as mechanical and electronic complexity have outpaced improved vehicle reliability,” the article added. “The result is a labor shortage that has increased workloads among existing automotive technicians and is leading to more hassles for customers.”
Car and Driver points out that partnerships like the one between Honda and Triton are becoming increasingly common across the country.
For instance, Lincoln Technical Institute, an automotive vocational school, has partnered with Audi, BMW and Fiat Chrysler on various apprenticeship programs in the field.
The BLS estimated that the median yearly salary of auto technicians was around $38,000 in 2016. Salaries in the field, however, tend to vary depending on the employee, with some technicians hauling in around $64,000 a year.
“It’s important that a new generation of skilled workers are properly trained so that they can help safely keep cars on the road,” Bohleke said in Triton’s statement.
Philip Rohde, the assistant zone manager for Honda’s Parts and Service Division, said that what the company’s partnership with Triton was based partly on the college’s enthusiasm for the program.
“There was clearly the want and desire for our training program to be on this campus,” Rohde said. VFP
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